Beauty and the Beast (TV)

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Name: Beauty and the Beast
Abbreviation(s): BatB, B&B
Creator: Ron Koslow
Date(s): 1987-1990
Medium: television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB, wikipedia
Catherine and Vincent on the show
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

Beauty and the Beast was a fantasy television series that ran on CBS from 1987 until 1990. The series offered an updated retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale: the romance between Catherine, a savvy assistant DA in New York, (Beauty) and Vincent, a lion-man (Beast) who lives in a secret Utopian community of social outcasts beneath New York City.

one of many cartoons by B&B artist, P.S. Nim, poking fun at the Park culvert and various plots

Because the cast changed in season 3, when Catherine died and a new character, Diana, became the female lead, investigating Catherine's murder, there is a split between what is referred to in the fandom as "Classic Beauty and the Beast", i.e. stories with Vincent and Catherine (either set in the first two seasons or denialfic, specifically known as "She's Not Dead" or SND in the fandom), and S3 stories with Diana. The latter however is much less popular in fandom, both because the character death destroyed the main ship of Vincent/Catherine, but also because season 3 had only twelve episodes, so there was not time for the new configuration to grow on anyone. Also the network tried to attract the coveted "male viewer" so the tone had changed in S3 as well.

a Beauty and the Beast t-shirt, image of naked Vincent in chains and inscribed "Victim of CBS Beast Abuse". This was the art for Abode of the Beast, artist: Marilyn Cole

The fan community was very proactive, writing and publishing fanzines, attending conventions, and, in the early days of online communication, creating mailing lists and bulletin boards.[1] In addition, the fandom has produced an extensive body of fanart (see Journeys (Beauty and the Beast calendar) for an overview of artists from the early 1990s). For a more comprehensive overview of fan writers and artists written by Jo Ann Baca in 2008, go here.[2]

The Classic vs. Season 3 Split

As mentioned above, when Catherine's character was written out of the show, fandom split between those who liked seasons 1 and 2 and those who liked (or at least tolerated) Season 3. Abbreviations multiplied: you were a "Classic" fan if you did not embrace the third season. You were a "S3" fan if you did. Season 3 fans would often refer to themselves as "All Seasons" fans because they felt "Third Season Fan" was misleading as it referred to a very small percentage of BATB fans: those who preferred the third season over the first two seasons.

Less positive terms for Classic fans included: 'Rabid Classic Fan', 'Militant Classic Fan', "Catherinite' and 'Nay-sayer'.[3]

Passions ran high and the level of animosity towards Season 3 stories was fierce.

"Up until [season 3] things had been fine, but, when that third season came out, it became instant warfare. Instant warfare. If you dared say that you liked Diana— For example, I published an issue of a Beauty and the Beast zine after that came out, and I had a, like, three-page story which was just a Diana story? I had people send me back my flyer, which talked about this, torn to pieces. And, this didn't happen to me but it happened to Dovya, who also published a Beauty and the Beast zine at the time. She had the same situation happen, but someone—more than one person—tore the story out of the zine, ripped it up in pieces and sent it back to her. It's like, overreaction much?"[4]
Another fan reports:
"I was at Tunnelcon 2 and went to a video showing for diehard fans of classic BATB (first and second season). While it was wonderful to see interviews of Linda and Ron which I had never seen, it was disconcerting to hear that people would refuse to watch even music videos with third-season shots in them. I kept thinking "they missed the kiss in the cave, they missed Vincent kissing Catherine as he left her" but they saw this as a terrible betrayal of what the show was about and I have to respect the fact that these people had a fairy tale shattered to bits by the killing of Catherine."[5]
The conflict even impacted the cast:
"....the Classic group seems to be larger and is certainly more vocal. The Stephen McHattie (an actor from season 3) stir happened this past winter, when Mr. McHattie expressed an interest in coming to TunnelCon III. I have a friend who was on the con committee, and she tells me that the committee received several letters saying, in effect, that if Stephen McHattie came to Las Vegas, they would not go, neither would their friends, etc. The committee would dearly have loved to say, "Fine, don't come," but at the time, registrations were very sluggish and they simply couldn't take the financial risk.[6]
Later conventions, however took a firm stand against attempts to boycott third season stars:
"In regard to the 1996 convention, Lyn Musacchio, one of the principal organizers, has repeatedly stated to Nan her (Lyn's) firm intention that that convention will be an all-season convention, one at which all fans will be welcome. It will, emphatically, NOT be a "Classic Only" event. If you hear to the contrary, know that the intention of the convention's organizers is to make the 1996 convention a fine gathering in the spirit of all those that have gone before, one at which everyone who loves Beauty and the Beast...any of it or all of it...will have a wonderful time.[7]
A fan in 1990 wrote:
What's the verdict on B&B 3rd season? For me, Vincent never was "right". Father was wimpy and unfocused (until the last few). The underground Utopian culture (my favorite aspect all along) was ignored. But.. .there were some good episodes, particularly Catherine's funeral and "A Time to Heal." I loved Diana, wonderfully played by Jo Anderson, and Joe (Jay Avocone) had some of his best episodes. Not a total waste, BB, but not as good as it had been. Should they not have even bothered? For me, even watered down B&B was better than none at all.[8]
When rumors of a possible movie began circulating in the early 1990s, fandom split yet again over whether the writers should include elements of the third season or should be placed in the middle of the "classic" storyline, the one before Catherine died:
I am becoming more and more uncertain about the effects of a movie on fandom if it is only going to deepen the rift in this family and destroy dreams...mine or anyone else's. ...I don't NEED a movie. What I need are more people with fertile, loving minds who see our characters (ALL of them) in all their possibilities. THAT is what keeps the dream alive. Not a movie....."[9]
These fears were not unfounded. One Classic fan wrote:
"My take on the 'movie' (yet

again I'm sharing...) is that I would prefer if the entire 3rd season were a dream/premonition that Vincent had while he was unconscious in the cave. Then, as events unfolded, he could take

the proper steps to save Catherine and the Tunnelworld."[10]
Finding examples of Season 3 character Diana Bennett is often difficult. Some fans refuse to even look at her image, which is presumably why this artist labeled the drawing "Study of Jo" after Jo Anderson, the actress who played Diana. Artist: Jamie.
And another Classic fan:
"I can't even look at 3S artwork, not at all. I had to have a friend lead me through the artroom at the LA con and tell me where not to go and what not to look at to avoid any pictures of Diana."[11]
On the other hand, others felt it would be impossible to pretend the third season did not exist in a sequel movie:
"I, for one, hate the idea of a second season movie. I had rather third

season than that. A second season movie insults my intelligence. By its very existence it tells me that the third season did occur and that it did not have a happy ending. Yet, I am expected to ignore that and enjoy -

knowing what lies ahead."[12]
Some fans resisted openly discussing the fandom rift. One fan had this to say about:
"....a small tempest over certain footage in the TunnelCon III video. In a recent published letter, a concerned fan objected to this footage that involved Nan and a few other all-season fans discussing the state of tolerance in this fandom. The letter-writer didn't like such a discussion being made in so public a forum as a convention video..."

This is ridiculous. I've seen this tape, and the segment in question is among my favorites. It is a short, candid discussion about the rift between Classic and Third Season/All Season fans that has soured an otherwise vibrant fandom. The discussion was no more involved than the ones we've had here on OLAH in the past.

Why *shouldn't* it be on the tape? As much as many of us hate this rift, it IS a part of the fandom right now. Continually turning the other cheek and burying the subject is not going to make it go away. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that every con video should FEATURE a segment on this fandom's intolerance. We should keep shining a light on it year after year until we get it out of our fandom. Those attitudes

are inconsistent with the types of values that the show tried to get across, and the con videos are a great forum for ventilating the issue."[13]
The impact the dispute had on conventions did not go unnoticed:
"I'd like to say one more thing before I go. We are not a large fandom. The

diminishing attendance at the conventions is proof to this. Many all-season fans have already quietly slipped away unnoticed, feeling abused and alienated. Some are now on the verge of leaving us - talented artists and writers from whom we will no longer hear. Friends we will no longer see each summer. They don't say anything in forums such as this - they just go. Is this what is really wanted? To have a fandom where everyone is of one view so that we can never be upset by someone's art, story, or opinion? Can't we be kinder to each other? Must we negate other's ideas so that ours might have validation? The movie will be whatever it will be and even though we would like to think that we have influence, I can't really say that we do. Perhaps the powers that be will find some middle ground between the just tell me it didn't happen crowd and the don't tell me that it didn't happen contingent. All I do know is that they will do whatever they think will bring in the most bucks.

In the Tunnel World, all are welcome who can make a contribution to the community. This fandom is our Tunnel World. We need all who love Beauty and the Beast. The part they love most should not matter. We need to be one

fandom again."[14]
And other fans wrote inspiring letters about the fandom, in spite of the "unpleasantness"
"So when some development, like the resistance to Steven McHattie's appearance at a convention, or someone's decision to withdraw from the fandom, makes you feel depressed and discouraged, that's understandable... but it also should be temporary.

Try to remember the happy, hopeful things that are just as true as the sad ones and should lift our hearts, not make us feel there's no use and we all might as well quit, pull down our Vincent posters, and slouch back to our now-uninteresting lone TV sets again, moaning about the good old days, when everything was rosy.

Remember what brought us into the fandom to begin with. Try to be there for one another. Don't worry about what anybody else is doing: contribute what you can to keep the dream alive. Live in shared love and hope, living the best we can--not perfect, but giving help where we can, taking help where we need

it: what the series was about--no less true, no less strong, than it was at the beginning."[15]
Some fans speculate that the seasons split may have contributed to the fandom's increasing isolation from the rest of media fandom over the years:
"I was in Beauty and the Beast fandom for a while, and I never could quite understand in recent years why they've become so separate from fandom, because they used to be— I mean, when the show was on the air there was a tremendous number of zines being published, and they were at Media West, they were at New York conventions, at Shore Leave, at any conventions where there were zines, the Beauty and the Beast zines there, and then, but after the show went off, particularly after the controversy, they just kind of started heading in a different direction, and almost, like, cut ties. And I didn't stay with the fandom so I never quite understood the dynamic.[16]

For another example of a fandom that split over casting or production changes see the Ray Wars (Due South).

Primarily A Het and Gen Fandom

cover of the zine, Classic Beauty and the Beast

Because the TV show was firmly rooted in traditional romance storylines, fan fiction has been and remains primarily gen and het. A small smattering of slash stories have been written. It is unclear if any slash fanzines were ever printed. Most slash can be found in online multi-fandom archives. The fact that no slash appears in any of the Beauty and the Beast fan fiction archives or fanzines might indicate that the fandom was - and is - not receptive to slash fiction or slash writers. Others have said that it is not that the fandom is not receptive to slash fiction, but rather that few fans want to read (or write) about non-canon pairings of any sort, given the strong character relationships in the show. The controversy over Vincent/Diana third season pairing stories lends this argument some weight.

In fact, even het stories that push the traditional romance narrative have not been well received by the fandom. (See the Black Cover fanzine). Likewise, stories that challenge the reality of the show have disturbed and upset readers (See "The Bridge, published in Kaleidoscope (Beauty and the Beast zine) #1. It is a story that presents Vincent and the Tunnels below as a hallucination that Catherine creates in order to cope with the trauma of her assault. A copy can be found here. The author discusses fans reactions to her story, which included accusations that she "destroyed the dream" here).

Places to find slash fiction:

Zines

cover of the zine, All That Lights Upon Us
The Beauty and the Beast fanzine tradition was shaped by fans entering the community form other media fandoms:
".....a lot of the early Beauty and the Beast fanzine editors had come from other fandoms. And, there were a lot of brand new people in that fandom as well. This was their first fandom, this was the first time doing a zine, but they were still building on what had been established by other zine editors. I think some of the earliest Beauty and the Beast zines were from people from other fandoms. New people came in, took that as their model, and ran with it."[18]

Fanworks in the Beauty and the Beast fandom are almost one hundred percent het (much of it erotic, explicit and otherwise) and primarily Vincent/Catherine, with some Vincent/Diana, and its fanzines reflect these two pairings.

  • The influential zines?

In 2011, during the relaunch of the Crystal Rose Lending Library, a fanzine lending library, the new librarians JoAnna Becca and Carol W attempted to identify the first Beauty and the Beast fanzine: "...but the answer wasn't clear-cut. Several zines were published in 1988, some with the month noted, most without. It was impossible to ascertain which zine was the absolute first." Instead they suggested fans start with a series of the earliest fanzines, all published in 1988.[19]

Go here for a list of Beauty and the Beast fanzines on Fanlore (for a complete list see Category:Beauty and the Beast Zines. For other Beauty and the Beast fanzine listings see the Qfer, The Beauty & the Beast Buyer's Guide to Fanzines and The Beauty & the Beast Fictionzine Database.

Fan-Created and/or Marketed Merchandise

This fandom was unique in the amount of fan-created and/or merchandise produced and sold. Beauty and the Beast fans created, and had the option to buy a vast variety of fan-created goods: candles, small stained glass windows, t-shirts, book bags, fannish dolls, rubber stamps, belt buckles, paper weights, buttons, letter openers, needlepoint pillows, and jewelry are just some examples.

See Fandom and Profit.


Conventions

flyer for Distant Shore II convention held in Los Angeles, CA (2000)

Numerous conventions have been held over the years, both commercial and fan-organized. The first commercial convention was held in 1988 in Los Angeles, with several of the actors in attendance. The first fan-run convention was TunnelCon held in 1990 in Las Vegas, NV. In 2007, the fandom celebrated its 20th anniversary of the TV show at A Without Limits, a convention held in Culver City, CA (convention splashscreen is archived here). A convention was held held in 2010 in San Diego, CA and a promotional video was created to advertise the convention.[20] The 2011 convention was held in New Orleans and on the 25th anniversary of the show, the 2012 convention will be held in Dallas, Texas with a proposed mirror convention held in the UK.

General Convention Info:

Ad for 2010 B&B Convention

Individual Conventions:

Fan Vids

Beauty and the Beast fanvids on videocassette, originally sold to raise funds for a charity

Like many fandoms of the 1990s, Beauty and the Beast has a songvid community. However, like the rest of the fandom, their vid creators rarely interact with the rest of media fandom and little is known about their works or vid traditions. Fan vids have been a main feauture the annual fan run conventions for decades. More recent vidders showcase their vids on Youtube or their own websites.

A few examples of early VCR vids:
"[The episode] No Way Down was the background for the first music video I ever made to the song 'Somewhere Out There'. It was the only episode used, and as a novice I did have a few "glitches" but still it was one of my best achievements. One of these days I hope to do more, but with the quality of music videos out there, and the fact that I only have consumer machines (not the fancy jog-shuttle- editing type) I can not match this quality no matter how good the idea is. It was good to see them replay 'My Boyfriend's Back' from South of Oz at TunnelCon III."[22]

Awards

In the early 1990s, the fandom offered annual awards to fanzine writers, artists and publishers: Beauty and the Beast Fan Quality Awards. Voting was open to all of fandom and the awards were announced at various conventions. It is unclear whether awards are still being offered for either print or online fiction.

Online

Beauty and the Beast fan interactions originally began offline and fannish activities and fan fiction were circulated in fanzines and newsletters. Gatherings were in person at conventions or via local fan clubs. Some of the activity has been archived online (see below). As fans moved into the Internet in the early 1990s, there was a gradual shift to online interactions; however fanzines and conventions continue to be produced up to the present. Some fan clubs are still active.

Snapshot of CABB
Screenshot of Chandler's B&B website

Websites:

Mailing lists

Entrance To BBTV Yahoo Mailing List by Sandy Chandler

Livejournal Communities

Annual Winterfest

Winterfest

Every year, fans still gather virtually to celebrate a week long "Winterfest" (a holiday celebrated on the show by the dwellers who lived beneath New York City).The site is offered in 4 languages.[23] During the festival, art and fan fiction is shared. It is organized by the Wintercandlemakers Committee, a group of fans made up of members from across the world.[24]

"The world above us is cold and gray; summer, a distant memory. Our world too has known its winters, so each year we begin this feast in darkness, as our world began in darkness.
Long before the city above us raised its towers to the sky, men sought shelter in these caverns. In those days these tunnels were dark places, and those who dwelt here dwelt in fear and isolation.
This was a land of lost hope, of twisted dreams, a land of despair, where the sounds of footsteps coming down a tunnel were the sounds of terror. Where men reached for knives and rocks and worse at the sound of other men's voices.
At last a few people learned to put aside their fear. And we began to trust each other, to help each other. Each of us grew stronger - those who took the help and those who gave it.
We are all part of one another: one family, one community. Sometimes we forget this, and so we meet here each year to give thanks to those who have helped us and to remember:
Even the greatest darkness is nothing, so long as we share the light. (Opening Words of Winterfest)[25]

Archives of previous Winterfests (2004-2008) can be found here

Other Resources

References

  1. Bluebird Bulletin Board Archives.
  2. reference link.
  3. In volume 3 Of Love and Hope one fan traced the origins of the term nay-sayer:
    "I'd like to touch upon a few things, starting with, specifically, the term "nay-sayer". It was used in a Pipeline editorial written by Stephanie Wiltse and it didn't ask people not to be 'nay- sayers', it had a heading that said: Attention All Nay-Sayers. It got my attention."
    Another fan wrote:
    "The editor, Stephanie Wiltse was

    making an effort to calm people down who were ready to storm Witt-Thomas before the series had even returned. She was saying that we shouldn't be

    nay-sayers and should wait to see what is in store before we condemn [the thrid season].
  4. Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with CatalenaMara (accessed November 4, 2013.
  5. Of Love and Hope Digest vol 1 (August 12, 1994).
  6. Of Love and Hope Digest vol 1 (August 12, 1994).
  7. Of Love and Hope Digest vol 2 (September 1994).
  8. comments from a male fan in Southern Enclave #25
  9. a letter in volume 3 Of Love and Hope.
  10. a letter in volume 3 Of Love and Hope.
  11. a letter in volume 3 Of Love and Hope.
  12. a letter in volume 3 Of Love and Hope.
  13. Of Love and Hope Digest vol 2 (September 1994).
  14. letter sent to Volume 3 Of Love and Hope.
  15. Nan Dibble in Of Love and Hope vol 1 (1994)>
  16. Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with CatalenaMara (accessed November 4, 2013.
  17. WayBack Archive link to The Complete Kingdom of Slash.
  18. Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with CatalenaMara (accessed November 4, 2013.
  19. The Crystal Rose Lending Library: Open once again!, accessed October 1, 2011.
  20. Promo vid for the 2010 Beauty and the Beast convention
  21. Beauty and the Beast Convention History WebCite, accessed Feb 2, 2011.
  22. From Of Love and Hope Vol 1 (1994).
  23. Entry to the Winterfest Great Hall website.
  24. 2009 Winterfest FAQ.
  25. Opening Words of Winterfest.
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